Crossroads Deli in Minnetonka

Scott Theisen / Heavy Table

Scott Theisen / Heavy Table

Chef Scott Hill uses six different sweeteners in his cabbage borscht at the Crossroads Deli in Minnetonka. He wouldn’t say what they were, nor would he share the recipe. It’s hard to blame him, since the slightly sweet, stew-chunky, beet-free but cabbage-and-beef-heavy soup is impossible to resist, and it’s the slight aftertaste of sweetness that makes it irresistible. Whether it’s maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, honey, white sugar, Sweet’N Low… the mind is boggled at six sweeteners.

The cabbage borscht is the standout item in a vast, varied menu that combines classic Jewish deli food with homestyle American comfort food. Many would probably dispute beatification of this borscht over the most popular soup at Crossroads, Matzo Ball. Those two, and a decadent Cream of Tomato Basil, are on the menu every day, in addition to a daily special (Tuesdays, for example, feature a bean soup with Kosher franks).

Scott Theisen / Heavy Table

Scott Theisen / Heavy Table

The Crossroads has breakfast, appetizers, burgers, salads, sandwiches, and dinners such as broasted chicken, cabbage rolls, Hungarian goulash, and baby back ribs. It’s a menu that could be a red flag — often, a chain-restaurant-style, something-for-everyone menu means mediocre food with no standouts (see: Chatterbox Pub on France). But no, the Crossroads is pleasingly consistent. It even has a full bar, probably necessary to make Bloody Marys for its mega-popular Sunday brunch.

A quick aside for deli purists: Don’t go to Crossroads expecting the Carnegie; you’ll be disappointed. It’s not that kind of atmosphere. The ambiance and decor at Crossroads is sort of a cross between Pearson’s Edina and Perkins. Service, though, is institutionally solid.

Crossroads also is a full-service bakery, with tower cakes, cookies, baklava, and fresh loaves. You can get a bourbon-and-water, bowl of borscht, and chopped chicken livers, then take home a slice of lemon cake and a loaf of rye. What a way to spend a Monday afternoon, eh? Another huge plus is the basket of fresh bread, dill slices, and beet pickles free to every table.

Scott Theisen / Heavy Table

Scott Theisen / Heavy Table

Back to the borscht. When Crossroads opened 13 years ago, it drew a crowd of regulars, much like today. One was a local doctor, who asked Hill to put borscht on the menu. Hill said, “I’m working on one, but haven’t got it quite right.” The good doctor came back with his family borscht recipe. Hill cooked some up, loved it, and started giving it to regulars to sample. Everyone weighed in (Opinions? In a deli?), and Hill tweaked until he landed on the goodness he serves today. A group effort, but “Dr. Stu” is credited on the menu. Thanks, doc.

BEST BETS: Get the soup. And the lemon cake, even if you’re stuffed and have to take it to go.

Crossroads Deli
Deli in Minnetonka

2795 Hedberg Dr
Minnetonka, MN 55305
952.546.6595
CHEF: Scott Hill
HOURS:
Sun-Thu 9am-9pm
Fri 9am-10pm
Sat 7am-10pm
Brunch 9am-2pm Sundays
BAR: Full
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $8-$19

Scott Theisen / Heavy Table

Scott Theisen / Heavy Table

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About the Author

Jason Walker

Jason Walker was born and raised in Kansas, where he grew up loving his grandmother’s homemade noodles and weekly fried fish. A summer internship in Milwaukee turned Jason and his wife, Leita, into die-hard fans of the Northwoods culture, and they moved to Minneapolis in 2006. Immediately the quality of food and drink in the Twin Cities was impressive – that even the most unassuming bar usually had a decent menu – and Jason knew he was home. Now living in the Fulton neighborhood with two kids, Jason grows tomatoes, cans voraciously, and badgers his neighbors with conversations about restaurants.

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5 Comments

  1. The writers description of Crossroads as “pleasingly consistent” should be filed under the category of “Damning With Faint Praise”. I take my kids there quite often, but I say that Crossroads is among the best of our local delis as more a damnation of our local deli scene than praise for Crossroads.

  2. le bender12/17/2009Reply

    I haven’t been in a while, but I had their tongue sandwich and it was lick-the-plate good. Pardon the pun.

  3. just got an email from my wife. turns we’re taking the family to crossroads for dinner. heh.

  4. The cabbage borscht looks heavenly! I have been trying to come up with vegetarian dishes for my Fort Lauderdale catering business. It is nice to know that there are still some deli restaurants that are not only surviving today’s economy but are still thriving. I love having traditional Jewish fare and a good sampling of sandwiches decked with quality meats. I would love to visit your place some time!

  5. Claire Hilgeman10/30/2011Reply

    We LOVE the Crossroads Deli. My husband will crave the Broasted Chicken, but there is NO WAY to beat either the Chicken wild rice casserole or the Hungarian Goulash with the best spaetzle ever made! And the Strawberry Salad? Heavenly! The service is wonderful, and the bakery is to die for. A great place to bring guests.

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